Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI)

Maximum medical improvement is one of the most important concepts in the Workers’ Compensation system in Colorado. You reach the point of MMI when your condition has stabilized, and when no additional medical care will improve your condition. MMI does not mean that you are back to the condition you were in before you were injured, and it does not mean that you are free of symptoms. All it means is that no additional medical care will improve your condition. In fact, when most injured workers are found to have reached MMI, they still have restrictions and limitations in their ability to work which will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

doctor-job-completeWhen you are declared to be at MMI, several important things happen. First, the insurance carrier can stop the temporary lost wage benefits which they have been paying to you. This can happen very quickly. Once the insurance company receives a medical report from a doctor saying that you are at MMI, they can stop the checks immediately. This can obviously create a severe hardship on you and your family. The second thing that happens once you have been declared at MMI is that your degree of permanent disability will be assessed. If your injury has left you so that you are not able to work at all, then you will be permanently and totally disabled (PTD). If, on the other hand, you have received a serious injury, but are still able to do some work, then you will be permanently and partially disabled (PPD).

Importance of MMI

Many of the court battles in workers’ compensation deal with the issue of maximum medical improvement, because the date of MMI has major consequences for the injured worker and the final settlement. The primary doctor who has been treating the injured worker, who also determines MMI, has been selected by the insurance company. He or she is being paid by the insurance company to keep costs down. This means that the doctor often closes the case and puts the injured worker at MMI too soon, concluding your medical treatment prematurely.

Premature MMI

As your attorney, Steve Gurwin will object to a determination of MMI in your case if it is made too early. For example, if you need more medical care like surgery, physical therapy, more evaluations, continuing medications, diagnostic testing, it is generally too soon for the doctor to declare you to be at MMI. If this happens, Steve Gurwin will fight to get the determination of MMI reversed, so that you can get the additional medical benefits to which you are entitled, and so the insurance company will continue paying you for your lost wages.

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